Last week, New York City enacted new laws to stop the sale of puppy mill dogs. Thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio's leadership and the leadership of the City Council, all dogs sold in NYC must come from reputable sources, not puppy mills that violate federal standards of care. Of course, why go to a pet store when there are so many wonderful pets ready to be adopted from the shelters? Nevertheless, this new law is a step in the right direction to crack down on the puppy mill pipeline to NYC.
That's going to ensure pets purchased here don't come from "puppy mills" and weren't subject to such cruelty. On behalf of those pets, let the New York City Council know you appreciate their work.
Far too often, breeders give no regard to the health and well-being of the dogs they are raising. In these puppy mills, female dogs are kept in narrow wire cages, forced to bear litter after litter without any break to recover their health. The wire floors of the cages hurt their paws and legs and after a mother can no longer have puppies, whether because of age or because of poor health due to the confined, unnatural conditions, the dog is often killed.
The puppies don't fare better, either. They're often ripped away from their mothers at an early age and sold to unsuspecting pet owners. Many become ill or have other health problems because of their cruel upbringing. Their owners buy them from stores that deceive customers into believing that the store is "puppy mill free." And then their owners are saddled with sick dogs and expensive health bills because they didn't know their beloved family dog came from a puppy mill.
But not any more.
Breeders with some of the most egregious violations will be banned from selling their animals in NYC, period. And the store will be required to provide the breeder's inspection information so that potential pet owners will know for sure that their new dog did NOT come from a puppy mill.
That's not all, though. The new law will also require legitimate stores to care for the pets they sell. Dogs and cats sold in New York will have to be spay/neutered and microchipped. Dogs will also be licensed before being sold. That means it'll be much easier to reunite lost pets with their owners and reduce pet homelessness. Stores will be banned from selling dogs and cats to anyone convicted of animal abuse, keeping animals safe. These are big steps for animal protection.
We have to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council for protecting puppies in New York City. Let the Council Members hear your appreciation!
For all NYC animals,
Not surprisingly, they are calling on municipalities to stop banning the retail sale of purposely-bred animals as many cities, such as Palm Springs, CA and Camden County, NJ., have done. In the latter, a local pet store reliant on puppy mill dogs closed and reopened with a new mission: rescuing puppies from the street, from shelters, and even from U.S. territories, like Puerto Rico. That, too, is a good thing to have happen–unless you are a puppy mill.
In other words, follow the money.
Your Beloved Pet is Their Marketable Inventory
When I first decided to move my advocacy to an actual website with content, as opposed to just having a Youtube channel, my plan was to expose people who care for animals to some subjects they might not otherwise know about. I considered myself pretty informed on “animal issues” a decade ago but I just wasn’t. There are a host of serious issues related to companion animals in our country that are just not on the “public radar,” for lack of a better description. Most people who care for and spend their lives with companion animals are focused on what affects them personally and don’t spend much time thinking about issues outside of their own household or community. One of the first issues I learned about years ago was about puppy mills.
Most Americans have heard the phrase puppy mill and don’t give it a whole lot of thought. I want you to think about what it means because whether you know it or not, puppy mills affect us all, even people who don’t consider themselves “animal people.”
Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding operations where dogs are produced in large numbers for profit and with little or no regard for the “breeder stock.” As I have written about before, this is big business in America. Whether a mill has hundreds of dogs or a handful of dogs, they are infusing dogs into the market and into American homes by the millions each year. The products pretty much sell themselves. Puppies are cute and it is easy for us to either not think about where they came from or not care
At the same time that mills are producing millions of dogs a year and making big money off of our love affair with the canine species, millions of dogs are being destroyed in our “animal shelters” each year using our tax dollars. You may think those dogs are sick or damaged in some way. You may even think that they simply cannot be saved because we just have too many of them. The reality is that the vast majority of dogs destroyed in shelters every day are perfectly healthy and treatable and there are homes for those dogs. They are destroyed because that’s what we have been doing in America for about 150 years and it’s just easier to keep doing it than to stop and ask “why?” More and more no kill communities are being created across the country with each passing month and year, but most shelters in most cities are places where animals essentially go to die using our money and while we are blamed for that process. The mind set is that if we were just more responsible, if we cared more, if we spayed and neutered more, if we did not treat our pets as disposable, etc., the animals would not have to die.
It is not a coincidence that millions of dogs are bred in mills and then millions of dogs die in our shelters. Millers, both large and small, put millions of products in front of us which we find incredibly hard to resist and we keep buying them. As long as we keep buying them, millers will keep producing them. And as long as millers keep producing dogs by the million, we will continue to destroy dogs in our shelters who have been overlooked or stereotyped, simply because they are unfortunate enough to have landed in our sheltering system. Yes, there are people who surrender animals to shelters and who should never have an animal in the first place. But not every animal entering a shelter is there due to someone’s callousness or irresponsibility. Pets get lost, people die, people get sick, houses burn down, people lose jobs and people often to not make the best decisions about their animals when life gets really hard and they aren’t thinking clearly. Every shelter animal deserves to be treated as an individual and to be given an opportunity for a new life. To do otherwise blames the animal for the failings of our society and of us as individuals.
I got an email recently from an advocate in New Jersey named Candace Quiles about a dog auction being held in Missouri on August 6, 2016. A miller with a terrible reputation for abuse is auctioning off his “stock” through a company called Southwest Auction Service and Marketing. I was contacted to see if there was something I could do to stop the auction. I cannot. Dog auctions are perfectly legal in our society and they happen all the time. This is what millers do and this is part of the business of puppy milling. Millers breed dogs, auction them off to brokers, individuals or even to rescue groups. Some in the rescue community have been known to pay thousands of dollars for a dog while describing their behavior as “rescue," leaving millers laughing all the way to the bank. Make no mistake. People who mass produce dogs for a living think no more of those dogs than they would any other form of livestock. The USDA is to thank for the mill industry and it is high time that the USDA got out of the business of regulating that industry so we can work to bring an end to them once and for all. Just because farming dogs is easier than farming cotton or soy beans doesn’t make it right. And just because rescuers can come up with 5 grand to "rescue" a dog in an auction doesn't mean they should. A sale is a sale is a sale.
After I was contacted about the auction, I looked into a little bit even thought I knew I could not stop it. I found the sales list for the auction. If you squint just a little bit and don’t look too closely, you might think this was an auction for used farm equipment or auto parts. It is an auction of living, breathing, feeling, sentient creatures and while those hosting it and attending it may find it perfectly normal business activity, I find it sickening and horrific.
Puppy mills may very well be one of the two greatest public shames in the American society regarding companion animals, the second being our broken animal sheltering system. We consider ourselves animal-friendly. We hold ourselves above other cultures where animals we keep as companions are consumed or bred for fur. But how can we possibly claim moral high ground while mills still flourish in our country and while we still kill dogs by the millions with our collective funds?
Man’s Best Friend. Made in America. Shame on us.
http://www.paws4change.com/blog/your-beloved-pet-is-their-marketable-inventoryPosition Clarification on Auction Payment for Dogs
I received a comment on this blog yesterday from a rescuer related to my position on rescuers who go to auctions. I want to clarify my position in light of her comments to me.
I fully support organizations and even rescuers who work will millers to have mill dogs relinquished to them and which then turn around and work to educate the public toward ending the mill industry. I have volunteered for a national organization which does just that for many years. I even support organizations which pay some small, nominal fee to save breeder dogs through direct contact with the miller and not as part of the auction setting.
I do not support people who go to auctions and who pay large sums of money for dogs using the label of rescue. I have first-hand accounts from people who have been to auctions to have seen thousands of dollars paid for a single dog. They have seen rescuers buy puppies for huge sums while leaving the parent dogs behind. In some cases, this behavior has driven up the prices.
There is just no polite way to say this so I'll just say it. If you think that going to an auction and paying for puppies or dogs under the name of rescue is a good way to spend your donor funds or even your own personal funds, you are enabling the entire process. You are putting money into the millers' pockets and to them you are no different than a broker or than someone who will take the dogs and sell them to a pet store to then sell to the public. For them, this is not an emotional topic at all. By making it an emotional topic yourself, you are helping them breed and sell more dogs.
I understand that this is an upsettting topic for most of us. But if you behave emotionally about a multi-million dollar industry, you will not change it. Yes, you can say that you “saved that one dog” and “kept her from living a life of servitude.” But you have also provided money to that miller to keep his or her business going. You are helping to perpetuate the very industry you say you oppose so fervently. If you really want to help mill dogs and end mills, saving dog A, B, C, or D is not having the effect you desire and is having the opposite effect.
The person who emailed me said that I am not in a position to judge because I have never been to an auction. It is true that I have not personally attended a dog auction. But dozens of my “clients” have and what they tell me from first-hand experience is good enough for me. I do not need to go to an auction to know that buying dogs is not helpful related to ending this industry. I am equally hard on rescuers who condone shelter killing by helping regressive shelters which kill healthy and treatable pets while telling themselves they are providing love and care to those animals in their last days, as if their deaths are some foregone conclusion. It is not. And their silence is their consent. I do not need to be in the "E room" while a happy dog or cat is being killed to know it is wrong.
If you think that paying $5,000 for a mill dog to “rescue” that one dog is a noble effort, consider this. You could use that same money to help many more relinquished mill dogs be rehabilitated and find homes while helping to educate the public to stop the industry. And if you didn't pay big money for the sick or injured dogs you see, they may very well be relinquished to an organization which will help them.